Monday, 19 July 1999
A project is behind schedule. Analysis and Design are troublesome. The approvement of the design is delayed, again and again.
The customer is puzzled.

Too much of all this incomprehensible computer jargon. These schema's full of weird symbols are out of my world. I just hope that these computer guys known what they're doing.

The analyst grumbles.

"It's just hopeless. These customers don't know what they want." It's tough to schedule an appointment. The daily routine seems more important than the project. They hardly have time for me.

So the design end up pretty vague, perforce. To avoid loosing time, the construction phase starts anyway. The motto "We'll figure it out during construction" sounds good, so the design quickly gets the formal status "ready". In the most favourable case the customer even approves the design, under pressure. So there is a signature on paper, but the moral commitment is absent. Do you know a situation like this?

The construction phase starts, without the moral approval. Trouble continues to strike the project. The programmers are not sure what to build. The optimistic "We'll figure it out during construction" has vanished quickly. The design does have a formal approval, so it seems unwise to deviate. They just accept the poor quality of the design. To prevent further delay they fill the absences as good as they can. "We can always change it later." So the customer does not get the desired software, but something that is just similar to what was specified. Do you know a situation like this?

The project runs behind schedule, in spite of all the optimism. There is no time any more to figure things out. The only options is to go full speed ahead in the current direction Would some extra manpower solve the problem? Get some contractors! It exceeds the budget, but so what. Do you know a situation like this?

End behold... The first pieces of functionality are ready. The customer tests the result, with great disappointment and amazement. Did I really sign for this? An extensive list of desired modifications arises quickly. The project was behind schedule already, and now this. The customer reluctantly has to agree, under time pressure, with just minimal modifications. Do you know a situation like this?

At delivery the discussions really break loose. The customer refuses to accept the result. The computer guys claim that the system was built as agreed, exactly according to specifications. The game ends in the game of the Old Maid, no winners. The deadline was not met, the budget is exceeded, and the customer is not happy about the quality.

Do you know a situation like this? I hope you don't. Next week an analysis of what went wrong here. In two weeks time an alternative approach. How to get software on time, of the right quality, and within budget?

Till next week!